Somalia: Farmaajo congratulates Puntland for holding direct election
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has hailed Puntland for holding the first-ever universal suffrage local elections since its formation in 1998, following a peaceful exercise that was concluded on Monday.
Since 1969 (save for the breakaway region of Somaliland), Somalia has never held direct polls, instead, it has continuously practiced indirect polls, commonly known as the 4.5 model. It's this model that the country wants to do away with.
In a statement on Wednesday, the outgoing Somalia leader congratulated the people of Puntland, adding that elections in Qardho, Eyl, and Ufeyn districts were a manifestation that Somalia can improve the democratization process.
He spoke on the phone with leaders of the political associations which competed in the ballot box, noting that their sacrifice and acceptance of results were a major indicator that Somalia will indeed make major strides in coming years.
His statement came moments after Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni accused Farmaajo of being a stumbling block towards credible and transparent elections in Somalia. He also questioned Farmaajo's silence.
"Farmajo's reluctant to praise Puntland's universal suffrage election is an indicator of his ill-advised intention to not hold elections in Somalia," said Deni. He noted that Farmaajo has failed to embrace free competition in the country.
Following October 25 municipal election in Puntland, two political associations - Mideeye and Justice and Equality have formed an alliance to form local councils in Qardho, Eyl, and Ufeyn. This came after the Kaah party led by Deni's Kaah party secured 35 seats of the possible 87 seats.
Puntland is set to roll out similar exercises across the region as it seeks to expand its democratization process, which was started by former President Abdirahman Farole, who is now serving as a senator in the federal parliament.